It was all going so well until….

Having failed to complete my #20 books of Summer reading challenge (as hosted by Cathy at 746books ) and only getting one book through Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time which I’d planned to read during 2017, I consoled myself that at least my challenge to resist the urge to buy books for a whole year was still on course.

Until last week, that is. It was my daughter’s birthday last weekend, and on a trip to Tesco’s to stock up on party food for her birthday sleepover, a book caught her eye – Letters From the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll. I popped back to get it while she was in gymnastics, but a sticker emblazoned on the cover declared that while one book would set me back three English pounds and eighty-five pence, I could walk away with two books for a fiver. A quick browse and I held in my hands a pristine block of pale turquoise joy – Stef Penney’s Under a Pole Star.

Stef Penney

I found myself walking to the checkout in a dream, all memories of my self-imposed book-buying ban temporarily forgotten, and then it was done. I walked out to the car, my book in one hand, the receipt in the other, and my challenge in tatters. To last out for over ten months and to fail now, might have felt like stumbling at the last hurdle, but actually, it doesn’t. I have spent the year plundering my own stocks – and those of the local library for an endless supply of wonderful novels, and have saved a small fortune in the process. Also, I absolutely loved Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves, so Under a Pole Star feels like a decidedly worthy novel to flunk out of my challenge with.

2017 doesn’t seem to have been my year for challenges, does it? Maybe I should make my challenge for 2018 to have no challenges at all – although, that just wouldn’t be any fun, would it?